Neonatal Transport Safety Metrics and Adverse Event Reporting: A Systematic Review

Megan M. Gray, Taylor Riley, Nancy D. Greene, Rossella Mastroianni, Courtney McLean, Rachel A. Umoren, Aditi Tiwari, Adithi Mahankali, Zeenia C. Billimoria

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Objective: Neonatal transports are an essential component of regionalized medical systems. Neonates who are unstable after birth require transport to a higher level of care by neonatal transport teams. Data on adverse events on neonatal transports are limited. The aim of this study was to identify, evaluate, and summarize the findings of all relevant studies on adverse events on neonatal transports. Methods: We identified 38 studies reporting adverse events on neonatal transports from January 1, 2000, to December 31, 2019. The adverse events were distributed into 5 categories: vital sign abnormalities, laboratory value abnormalities, equipment challenges, system challenges, cardiopulmonary resuscitation, and transport-related mortality. Results: Most of the evidence surrounds vital sign abnormalities during transport (n = 28 studies), with hypothermia as the most frequently reported abnormal vital sign. Fourteen studies addressed laboratory abnormalities, 12 reported on events related to equipment issues, and 4 reported on system issues that lead to adverse events on transport. Of the 38 included studies, 12 included mortality related to transport as an outcome, and 4 reported on cardiopulmonary resuscitation during transport. There were significant variations in samples, definitions of adverse events, and research quality. Conclusion: Adverse events during neonatal transport have been illuminated in various ways, with vital sign abnormalities most commonly explored in the literature. However, considerable variation in studies limits a clear understanding of the relative frequencies of each type of adverse event. The transport safety field would benefit from more efforts to standardize adverse event definitions, collect safety data prospectively, and pool data across larger care systems.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)283-295
Number of pages13
JournalAir medical journal
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 1 2023

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Emergency Medicine
  • Emergency


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